Struggling With Irregular French Verb Conjugations?

Verb Conjugations - Conjugaison Game (La Conjugaison)
Regular French Verb Conjugation
Irregular French Verb Conjugation
Check out Conjugaison Game for practice:

French! Not only a romantic language but also widely spoken. French is spoken in 5 continents and 32 states. There are 300 million French speakers today, and 51 million people are learning French. And you may be one of them. However, did you realize that learning French verb conjugations (la conjugaison) is not easy. Actually, it is really hard, especially Irregular French Verb conjugation makes French learners world miserable. But believe in yourself! If 51 million people learn it, you can learn it too. The trick is studying wisely.

Why So Irregular?

Learning French verb conjugations is quite hard. The regular verbs have their pattern. Even though the regular verbs also have their exceptions, still regular verb conjugations are not as hard as the irregular ones.

And unfortunately, the most common French verbs are irregular. Let’s list some of the most common irregular verbs:

  • être – to be
  • avoir – to have
  • aller – to go
  • faire – to make, to do
  • voir – to see
  • boire – to drink

Learning those irregular French verb conjugations is obviously not easy. Some of the irregular verbs can be grouped and memorized together, but still there are too many things to memorize.

This is why I would like to discuss Conjugaison Game . By practicing French verb conjugations, you may actually both practice regular and irregular verbs. Also you may learn from your mistakes.

An example of irregular french verb conjugation (la conjugaison). Follow ConjugaisonGameFrench to practice more.

Different Than Regulars

Irregular French Verbs, known as “3rd group” has nothing in common with the 1st or 2nd group French verbs. And 3rd group French verbs have no common single rule.

Let’s remember those common rules for the 1st and 2nd group first:

  • 1st group: -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, -ent
  • 2nd group: -is, -is, -it, -issons, -issez, -issent

The 1st and 2nd group French verbs also have their exceptions for different cases. The regular French Verbs are not that regular, but still they have at least common rules. I have another post for the Regular French Verbs.

Now let’s see the 3rd group! Analyzing verbs for Indicatif Présent:

Group1st group: -er2nd group: -ir3rd group3rd group3rd group
Subject/Verbchanter (to sing)finir (to finish)être (to be)avoir (to have)boire (to drink)
JeJe chanteJe finisJe suisJ’aiJe bois
TuTu chantesTu finisTu esTu asTu bois
Il/ElleIl/Elle chanteIl/Elle finitIl/Elle estIl/Elle aIl/Elle boit
NousNous chantonsNous finissonsNous sommesNous avonsNous buvons
VousVous chantezVous finissezVous êtesVous avezVous buvez
Ils/EllesIls/Elles chantentIls/Elles finissentIls/Elles sontIls/Elles ontIls/Elles boivent

As you realized, the third group does not have one common rule like 1st and 2nd group. The third group is actually not a group, but they are the left outs. However, some verbs in the third group have their similarities, so learning those groups helps to memorize irregular French verb conjugations a bit easier than it seems.

Irregular French Verb Groups

As we discussed above, the third group seems like the group with the left out verbs. They do not have a single common rule. However some of those irregular verbs can form a group and have a common group within themselves. Let’s share some examples for Indicatif Présent:

  • dormir, partir, sentir, sortir
    • dormir: je dors, tu dors, il dort, nous dormons, vous dormez, ils dorment
    • partir: je pars, tu pars, il part, nous partons, vous partez, ils partent
    • sentir: je sens, tu sens, il sent, nous sentons, vous sentez, ils sentent
    • sortir: je sors, tu sors, il sort, nous sortons, vous sortez, ils sortent
  • vouloir, pouvoir, devoir, savoir
    • vouloir: je veux, tu veux, il veut, nous voulons, vous voulez, ils veulent
    • pouvoir: je peux, tu peux, il peut, nous pouvons, vous pouvez, ils peuvent
    • devoir: je dois, tu dois, il doit, nous devons, vous devez, ils doivent
    • savoir: je sais, tu sais, il sait, nous savons, vous saves, ils savent
  • venir, tenir, devenir, obtenir
    • venir: je viens, tu viens, il vient, nous venons, vous venez, ils viennent
    • tenir: je tiens, tu tiens, il tients, nous tenons, vous tenez, ils tiennent
    • devenir: je deviens, tu deviens, il devient, nous devenons, vous devenez, ils deviennet
    • obtenir: j’obtiens, tu obtiens, il obtient, nous obtenons, vous obtenez, ils obtiennent
  • ouvrir, couvrir, souffrir, offrir
    • ouvrir: j’ouvre, tu ouvres, il ouvre, nous ouvrons, vous ouvrez, ils ouvrent
    • couvrir: je couvre, tu courves, il couvre, nous couvrons, vous couvrez, ils couvrent
    • souffrir: je souffre, tu souffres, il souffre, nous souffrons, vous souffrez, ils souffrent
    • offrir: j’offre, tu offres, il offre, nous offrons, vous offrez, ils offrent
  • prendre, apprendre, comprendre
    • prendre: je prends, tu prends, il prend, nous prenons, vous prenez, ils prennent
    • apprendre: j’apprends, tu apprends, il apprend, nous apprenons, vous apprenez, ils apprennent
    • comprendre: je comprends, tu comprends, il comprend, nous comprenons, vous comprenez, ils comprennent
  • rire, dire, lire, écrire
    • rire: je ris, tu ris, il rit, nous rions, vous riez, ils rient
    • dire: je dis, tu dis, il dit, nous disons, vous dites, ils disent
    • lire: je lis, tu lis, il lit, nous lisons, vous lisez, ils lisent
    • écrire: j’écris, tu écris, il écrit, nous écrivons, vous écrivez, ils écrivent

It seems easier when they are grouped. I recommend to group them while memorizing. Too much practice needed for French Irregular Verbs. Studying from a dedicated practice tool such as Conjugaison Game will make this process easier.

Irregular French Verbs – Once Irregular, Always Irregular

There are more than 20 tenses in French. Some of them highly look alike, and relatively easy, but still there are much things to learn. Unfortunately for French irregular verbs, that means more memorization. Because once a verb is irregular, it is always irregular! So learning irregular verbs for Indicatif Présent is never enough.

Let’s analyze 3 common irregular French verbs (être – to be, avoir – to have, aller – to go) and 2 common regular French verbs (1st group: chanter, 2nd group: finir) for different tenses.

VerbPassé composéPassé simpleFutur simple
chanterJ’ai chanté
Tu as chanté
Il a chanté
Nous avons chanté
Vous avez chanté
Ils ont chanté
Je chantai
Tu chantas
Il chanta
Nous chantâmes
Vous chantâtes
Ils chantèrent
Je chanterai
Tu chanteras
Il chantera
Nous chanterons
Vous chanterez
Ils chanteront
finirJ’ai fini
Tu as fini
Il a fini
Nous avons fini
Vous avez fini
Ils ont fini
Je finis
Tu finis
Il finit
Nous finîmes
Vous finîtes
Ils finirent
Je finirai
Tu finiras
Il finira
Nous finirons
Vous finirez
Ils finiront
êtreJ’ai été
Tu as été
Il a été
Nous avons été
Vous avez été
Ils ont été
Je fus
Tu fus
Il fut
Nous fûmes
Vous fûtes
Ils furent
Je serai
Tu seras
Il sera
Nous serons
Vous serez
Ils seront
avoirJ’ai eu
Tu as eu
Il a eu
Nous avons eu
Vous avez eu
Ils ont eu
Tu eus
Il eut
Nous eûmes
Vous eûtes
Ils eurent
Tu auras
Il aura
Nous aurons
Vous aurez
Ils auront
allerJe suis allé
Tu es allé
Il est allé
Nous sommes allés
Vous êtes allés
Ils sont allés
Tu allas
Il alla
Nous allâmes
Vous allâtes
Ils allèrent
Tu iras
Il ira
Nous irons
Vous irez
Ils iront

As it may be realized, the French irregular verbs continue to be irregular while using other tenses. Moreover, sometimes the verb’s root also changes, such as;

  • être becomes “je fus” for passé simple and “je serai” for futur simple
  • avoir becomes “j’ai eu” for passé composé, “j’eus” for passé simple and “j’aurai” for futur simple
  • aller becomes “j’irai” for futur simple

If you do not know those rules, probably you will assume that those verbs are completely different.

So What to Do With Irregular French Verb Congugations?

Unfortunately, the rules above are not the whole list of rules for verb conjugations. There are other rules. If you liked this post, you may enjoy my another post for Regular French Verb Conjugations: Struggling With French Verb Conjugations?

If you want or need to learn French, you should cope with this situation wisely.

Learning the grammar from an instructor by taking a course and practicing the knowledge from a textbook is essential. All the applications and webpages are mostly supportive.

I strongly recommend spending extra effort on verb conjugations while studying French. Conjugaison Game website will be useful for this purpose. There are too many exercises to practice. Also it is user-friendly.

In addition, while learning a language, changing the phone’s language and following social media accounts that teach French is quite useful way to increase the exposure to the French language. You may follow Conjugaison Game French Instagram Page to practice French.

À bientôt!